Council: Amendments to law will take Maltese back 40 years

Maltese Language council accuses Education minister of refusing to consult with those most knowledgeable about Maltese language

Maltese Language Council says proposed changes will erase 40 years of progress

Maltese Language Council says proposed changes will erase 40 years of progress

The Maltese Language Council is calling on the government and the opposition, not to go ahead with the proposed changes to the Maltese Language Act.

In a press conference held this evening, representatives from what were described as the six largest Maltese language institutions, said that they were very concerned that the proposed changes would allow certain decisions regarding the Maltese language to be taken by individuals who are not qualified. The council said that they have been left with no choice but to take the matter to the Prime Minister.

Present at the press conference were representatives from the Maltese Language Academy, Maltese Department at the University of Malta, Maltese Department at the Junior college, Linguistics Institute at the University of Malta, Maltese Language Society at the University of Malta, and the Association for Maltese proof-readers.

The president of the Academy for Maltese, Olvin Vella said that over the past ten years, the Maltese Language council had succeeded in bringing together the different organisations working within the field of the Maltese language, and to reach consensus on a number of issues, as well as to work constructively together for the benefit of the language.

Vella lamented the proposed changes to the council, arguing that these changes would weaken the Maltese language by allowing everyone to have his say, irrespective of their qualifications.

“We are against changes to the constitution of the Maltese language council that will result in a weakening of the council. We want the council to remain made up of a majority of people who are qualified, while also remaining representative,” said Vella.

Vella said that the proposed amendments were being made to appease “some people” who despite having no qualifications, have very strange ideas about what Maltese should be like.

“We are worried that in the near future, the dream of certain ambitious individuals who want to spread their fantasies at the expense of common sense, will become a reality. Unfortunately, these people have been given preference over the council by the ministry,” said Vella.

The Head of the Maltese Language Department at the University of Malta, echoing Vella, said that the proposed changes would weaken the council.

Micallef accused those of proposing the changes of not being able to speak the language themselves, adding that the proposed changes would cause the Maltese language to go back to the state of chaos it was in 40 years ago.

“Even the press release that was issued to announce the proposed changes was full of mistakes. We are predicting, with certainty, that this will be the consequence of these changes. If someone were to come to me with a document like this, I would have said that the personal clearly does not know anything about Maltese,” said Micallef.


Mill-gazzetta Maltatoday. Kitba ta’ Yannick Pace

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Maltese academics not consulted about Maltese language law amendments

Not everyone believes that the Maltese language is a unique heritage that we need to cherish and preserve. The Peruvians are very proud of their ancestor’s language, the Quechua, which is spoken by a couple of million people in Latin America and which they deem to be very rare. The Maltese language is probably less common, but still not so many understand its value. The Akkademja tal-Malti (the Maltese Language Academy) and five other institutions promoting Maltese are seriously concerned with the amendments being proposed by the government. Dr Olvin Vella, President of the Academy, speaks to Gabriel Schembri and explains his concerns about how Education Minister Evarist Bartolo’s proposals, if they go through, will weaken the Language Act and the Council for Maltese.

You are objecting strongly to Minister Evarist Bartolo’s proposed amendments to the Language Act. Are you opposed to any changes whatsoever?

The Maltese Language Act was set up 10 years ago and it is only natural that some changes would be needed from time to time so as to enable the Council to carry out its function better. What I cannot understand is the dubious reasons behind changes which are not needed, and which do not emanate from either the Public Forum or the report of the Committee, both of which were ordered by Minister Bartolo himself.

Why are you objecting now? Didn’t the Minister consult with you before announcing this reform?

No. The ministry never approached us or the National Council before launching its sham public consultation about the Language Law and the Council. We only heard about it from the evening news bulletin.

What was your reaction?

We protested with the Minister, apologised for the gaffe, and promised to hold a Public Forum about the Council, as stipulated in the Language Law. However, the Public Forum was only a fresh occasion for the Minister to add insult to injury. At the end of a Forum in which all the floor (more than 200 persons) applauded the Council’s work, Minister Bartolo in his closing speech, rather than complimenting the Council for all its hard and unpaid efforts over the last 10 years, dismayed his listeners by announcing that he would appoint a Consultative Council to carry out the “needed” reform in the Language Act.

By this time it was crystal clear that what Minister Bartolo was after was not what both the Public Forum or his Consultative Committee would suggest, and that both were nothing more than scapegoats to feign public consultation.

Wasn’t this a premature conclusion since the work of the Consultative Committee still had to begin?

Clearly, it was not. In Maltese we say Min tafu tistaqsix għalih (You don’t need to ask about someone you know well enough). In fact, we were proved right. Apart from a couple of minor changes, Minister Bartolo’s most serious proposed amendments to the Language Act and to the composition of the Council are totally new and were never suggested by either the Maltese public at the Forum or the members of the Consultative Committee. They are changes that have no other source but the Minister’s undeclared projects for the Maltese Language, and which are not shared by any of the six main institutions promoting Maltese. We simply cannot have a Minister trampling over all public and expert opinions to achieve his undeclared goals.

But what exactly do you disagree with in the proposed changes?

The Consultative Committee had suggested the inclusion in the Council of a representative of the Translation Department at the University of Malta, a member of the Broadcasting Authority, and another one representing the publishers. On the other hand, two academics which were heads of technical committees have lost their seat. This means that instead of 11 members, the Council would be made up of 12.

So why does the amendment say that the Council would have 13 members, not 12?

That is because the Minister decided to include another member from the National Book Council. The Committee was against such a nomination.

What is the problem with having 13 members instead of 12?

It is not the number of members in the Council that matters, but the quality of their credentials, their qualifications and their ability to perform the Council’s terms of reference.

So far, the Language Law guaranteed that 7 of the 11 Council members, that is the majority, would be qualified scholars of Maltese. This balance assured the public that the Council’s decisions would be sound and effective. No wonder our Parliament voted unanimously in favour of such a sound setup.

If the proposed changes were to go through, this will no longer be the case. Necessarily qualified members – and I mean, qualified in the Maltese language, let alone any additional qualifications – will be in a minority, and exactly six out of the 13 Council members. How can Minister Bartolo assure us that his proposed Council would take sound decisions regarding our mother tongue when qualified persons will be in a minority?

I see your point here. Is this your only objection?

Unfortunately not. The Maltese Council operates through a small number of Technical Committees. Anyone will realize the importance of having the best qualified persons at the helm of these sensitive Committees. That is why the present Language Law stipulates that nominations for these positions should be in the hand of the Akkademja tal-Malti and the Department of Maltese at the University, which are considered as the most reliable depositories of research on the Maltese Language.

In the proposed amendments, these two bodies have been relieved of this important function, which is being passed to any 5 Council members… possibly five of the seven unqualified members in its fold! That is why we insist that this is strictly a matter of Quality!

Why would the government, or in this case the Minister, be interested in weakening the qualified majority of the Council?

We can only innocently hope that the Minister just did not do his homework well enough when calculating the checks and balances within the Council.

But – in the light of these obstinate and harmful propositions – can we be blamed to suspect that these are only the first steps towards what Minister Bartolo had declared not so many years ago in Parliament (October 2011), when he suggested that our national language be considered like any other foreign language in our schools at all levels?

Why is language reform such a controversial subject?

History and experiences from around the world have shown us that every language change stirs a hot debate. It’s normal and healthy. At university, I teach a subject called ‘Language Planning’ and one part of it is about orthographic reform. When you study this, you will notice that in some cases, these changes have brought about revolutions.  In Germany, an orthographic reform brought with it constitutional crises. It can get that absurd.

What concerns me is that the council has managed to create this harmony between these organisations which have the Maltese language at heart, and certain decisions might weaken all this hard work.


Mill-gazzetta The Malta Independent, kitba ta’ Gabriel Schembri

http://www.independent.com.mt/articles/2016-11-28/local-news/Maltese-academics-not-consulted-about-Maltese-language-law-amendments-6736167198

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Mis-Serata Bejn Ħaltejn, fil-Festival tal-Ktieb

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Stqarrija għall-Istampa fuq l-emendi fil-Liġi tal-Malti

Qed insegwu l-proposti tal-Gvern fuq il-Liġi tal-Malti. Il-proposti huma ftit imma xorta jdgħajfu l-Kunsill il-ġdid tal-Malti għax ifaqqruh mill-element akkademiku. Għalkemm hija ħaġa tajba li r-rappreżentanza fil-Kunsill kibret b’4 membri ġodda, il-proposti tal-Gvern fihom tliet nuqqasijiet kbar.

L-ewwel.

Il-Kunsill sal-lum kellu 11-il membru: 7 kienu nies ikkwalifikati fil-Malti u 4 li jistgħu ma jkunux ikkwalifikati.[1] Skont il-proposta tal-Gvern, il-Kunsill il-ġdid għandu jkollu 13-il membru: 6 se jkunu nies ikkwalifikati imma 7 jistgħu ma jkunux ikkwalifikati.[2] Dan ifisser li d-deċiżjonijiet tal-Kunsill tal-Malti se jibdew jittieħdu minn grupp ta’ nies li l-biċċa l-kbira minnhom jistgħu ma jkunux kwalifikati fil-Malti.

It-tieni.

Il-Kunsill jaħdem permezz ta’ numru żgħir ta’ kumitati tekniċi, eż., il-Kumitat tal-Informatika, il-Kumitat tat-Terminoloġija, eċċ. Sa issa l-Kap ta’ kull kumitat kien jinħatar mill-Kunsill minn fost nies proposti mill-Akkademja tal-Malti u d-Dipartiment tal-Malti fl-Università, li bla dubju huma l-aktar żewġ awtoritajiet akkademiċi stabbiliti. Din is-serjetà se tintilef bil-proposti l-ġodda għaliex il-Kap se jiġi propost minn 5 (mit-13-il membru) tal-Kunsill tal-Malti. Wieħed irid jiftakar li skont il-proposti se jkun hemm 7 membri li jistgħu ma jkollhom l-ebda kwalifika jew għarfien tal-Malti.[3] Mela 5 membri li jistgħu ma jkunux kwalifikati fil-Malti se jkollhom saħħa jinnominaw Kap Tekniku.

It-tielet.

Skont il-liġi kif kienet, il-kwistjonijiet tekniċi fuq il-lingwa kienu f’idejn Kummissjoni ta’ nies esperti. U l-Kunsill seta’ ma jaċċettax il-proposti tal-Kummissjoni imma ma seta’ qatt jibdilhom. Imma skont il-liġi proposta, il-Kunsill magħmul minn maġġoranza ta’ nies li mhux bilfors huma kkwalifikati fil-Malti se jkollu s-setgħa jiddeċiedi hu flok il-Kummissjoni meta ma jaqbilx magħha. Dan ifisser li, jekk tgħaddi l-liġi kif inhi proposta mill-Gvern, id-deċiżjonijiet tal-Kunsill tal-Malti se jgħaddu minn idejn nies li jifhmu għal idejn nies li jistgħu ma jkunux kwalifikati.

Aħna l-għaqdiet u l-entitajiet tal-Malti (imsemmija hawn taħt) niddikjaraw li

  1. ma naqblux mal-partijiet tal-emendi li jdgħajfu l-element akkademiku tal-Kunsill tal-Malti
  2. ma naqblux li jittajjar is-sehem tal-Akkademja u tad-Dipartiment tal-Malti fil-ħatra tal-Kapijiet tal-Kumitati Tekniċi, ħatriet li dejjem saru skont il-kwalifika akkademika
  3. ma naqblux li l-maġġoranza tal-membri tal-Kunsill tista’ tkun magħmula minn nies li mhumiex ikkwalifikati fl-istudju ta’ lsienna.

L-Akkademja tal-Malti

Id-Dipartiment tal-Malti fl-Università                   

Id-Dipartiment tal-Malti fil-Junior College     

L-Istitut tal-Lingwistika fl-Università   

L-Għaqda tal-Malti – Università

L-Għaqda tal-Qarrejja tal-Provi tal-Malti 

[1] 11-il membru (il-kompożizzjoni tal-Kunsill skont il-liġi kif kienet): il-President, rapp[reżentant] tal-Akkademja, rapp. tad-Dipartiment tal-Malti fl-Università, rapp. tal-Istitut tal-Lingwistika, rapp. tal-Għaqdiet tal-Malti, 2 kapijiet tal-Kumitati Tekniċi, rapp. tal-Avukat Ġenerali, rapp. tal-Kunsill Malti għall-Arti, rapp. tal-Istitut tal-Ġurnalisti Maltin u rapp. tad-Diviżjoni tal-Edukazzjoni nominat mill-Ministru.

[2] 13-il membru (skont il-proposta tal-Ministru Bartolo): il-President, rapp. tal-Akkademja, rapp. tad-Dipartiment tal-Malti fl-Università, rapp. tal-Istitut tal-Lingwistika, rapp. tal-Għaqdiet tal-Malti, rapp. tad-Dipartiment tat-Traduzzjoni fl-Università, rapp. tal-Avukat Ġenerali, rapp. tal-Kunsill Malti għall-Arti, rapp. tal-Istitut tal-Ġurnalisti Maltin, rapp. tad-Diviżjoni tal-Edukazzjoni nominat mill-Ministru, rapp. tal-Awtorità tax-Xandir, rapp. tal-pubblikaturi u rapp. tal-Kunsill tal-Ktieb.

[3] Dawn huma r-rappreżentant tal-Avukat Ġenerali, rapp. tal-Kunsill Malti għall-Arti, rapp. tal-Istitut tal-Ġurnalisti Maltin, rapp. tad-Diviżjoni tal-Edukazzjoni nominat mill-Ministru, rapp. tal-Awtorità tax-Xandir, rapp. tal-pubblikaturi u rapp. tal-Kunsill tal-Ktieb.

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Ġieħ l-Akkademja tal-Malti għas-sena 2016 ingħata lill-Professur Oliver Friggieri

STQARRIJA MILL-UFFIĊĊJU TAL-PRESIDENT

‘‘Ġieħ l-Akkademja tal-Malti: ‘statement’ qawwi li juri li, bħala nazzjon, kommessi bis-sħiħ li nkomplu niksbu aktar eċċellenza u kreattività fl-istudju letterarju u lingwistiku ta’ lsien pajjiżna”

Ilbieraħ fil-Palazz, il-Belt Valletta, il-President ta’ Malta Marie-Louise Coleiro Preca ppresediet l-ewwel ċerimonja tal-premju Ġieħ l-Akkademja tal-Malti, fl-anniversarju tal-Akkademja tal-Malti, li twaqqfet fl-14 ta’ Novembru, 1920.

Il-President Coleiro Preca qalet li bit-twaqqif tal-Akkademja tal-Malti twieled is-sens ta’ salvagwardja tal-identità Maltija, għax hija l-Akkademja l-entità li ħadet fuqha d-dmir li tippreserva u tiċċelebra l-ilsien tagħna l-Maltin.

Ġieħ l-Akkademja tal-Malti se jibda jingħata biex tiġi onorata persuna għall-kontribut siewi li tkun tat lejn il-lingwa u l-letteratura Maltija. Il-President qalet li tinsab ‘‘tassew sodisfatta b’din l-inizjattiva ġdida’’ u tħossha onorata li ppreżentat l-ewwel midalja tad-deheb lil persuna li ddistingwiet ruħha f’dan il-qasam.

Ġieħ l-Akkademja tal-Malti għas-Sena 2016 ingħata lill-Professur Oliver Friggieri. Il-President qalet li Profs Friggieri jistħoqqlu tassew li jingħata l-ewwel midalja li permezz tagħha se jkun ta’ ispirazzjoni għar-rebbieħa ta’ warajh, fis-snin li ġejjin.

“Jeħtieġ li niċċelebraw il-qawwa tal-wirt tagħna fil-forma kollha tagħha. Jeħtieġ inkunu fidili lejn dak kollu li jagħmilna differenti, li jagħtina l-individwalità u l-identità tagħna, u fl-istess ħin jenfasizza dak kollu li jgħaqqadna mal-oħrajn”, qalet il-President ta’ Malta.

Fl-aħħar nett, il-President ħabbret li fil-bidu tas-sena d-dieħla, il-Palazz ta’ San Anton se jkollu librerija, wara restawr estensiv li qiegħed isir fil-Palazz sabiex jinfetħu kmamar Statali ġodda.

Il-President qalet li l-Akkademja tal-Malti se tkun il-kustodju ta’ kollezzjoni ta’ kotba li se jitqiegħdu fil-librerija tal-Palazz, u se tkun maħsuba biex tagħti spazju sabiex jiġu rikonoxxuti l-kittieba Maltin kif ukoll il-Letteratura Maltija.

Ritratti: OPR

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Il-Kantilena ta’ Pietru Caxaro – Interpretazzjoni Rinaxximentali

Mid-Daħla tal-ktieb:
 
“Hemm l-importanza tagħha bħala xogħol letterarju bikri bil-Malti, imma wkoll, u wisq aktar, bħala dokument li jixħet dawl fuq dik li nixtieq insejħilha ‘L-istorja tal-Maltin’.
 
Fl-isfond tan-nisġa ta’ elementi Għarbin u elementi Sqallin tinkiseb definizzjoni sħiħa tal-Malti bħala djalett li kiber u sar lingwa. Iżda wisq iżjed minn hekk, illum nikkonkludi li hemm ukoll il-muftieħ għall-għarfien etniku tal-istess poplu li jitħaddet ilsien li hu taħlita: Semitiku-Latin.
 
Ir-rikkezza enormi tal-lingwa Maltija tiftiehem minnufih f’dan id-dawl: hi lingwa li stagħniet billi laqqgħet fiha stess żewġ kulturi kbar.”
 
 
 

Riċerka ta’ Oliver Friggieri

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X’għandna lest għalikom fil-festival tal-ktieb dis-sena bi prezz speċjali.

Medea ta’ Ewripidi – traduzzjoni ta’ Oliver Friggieri
Fjur tal-Ilma – Ġorġ Borg
Il-Malti – ħarġiet speċjali mill-arkivju tal-Akkademja li jinkludu l-edizzjoni ta’ Karmenu Vassallo, Patri Anastasju Cuschieri, Anton Buttigieg u oħrajn
Melita Invicta ta’ Ġużè Chetcuti (edizzjoni rari ħafna)
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